The box score for the first of three Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire races of the weekend won’t show any official lead changes, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, as three different passes were made for the lead.
Pato O’Ward made a daring pass of pole sitter and championship leader Aaron Telitz on the opening lap, and was able to build a huge lead before a late yellow flag set up one of the more exciting laps of the Pro Mazda season.
The Green and White flag flew at the start/finish line as the O’Ward and Teltiz streamed underneath them. Telitz moved to inside of the circuit but was thwarted by O’Ward who also moved to the inside.
Telitz then swung wide, executing a perfect over-under move and passing his young Mexican teammate. Telitz was only able to hold back O’Ward for two corners as the Topo Chico sponsored No. 80 of O’Ward got off of Turn 4 better and was able to get inside of Telitz in Turn 5. O’Ward was able to hold on for his seventh win of the year.
More importantly, O’Ward was able to cut six points off of Telitz’s championship lead and begins tomorrow’s race only 8 points behind his teammate.
Nicolas Dapero ended up the race in third, the third podium of the season for the 18 year-old Juncos Racing rookie. Nico Jamin and Jake Parsons made up the remainder of the top five.
The Mazda Renesis rotary engines powering the dozen Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire entries were fired at exactly 2:15pm and the first of seven “Soul Red Finale” championship tilts began with championship contenders Telitz and O’Ward on the front row.
Telitz brought the field slowly to the green flag and O’Ward was able to get the jump on the points leader and pull ahead of Telitz before the start/finish line. Telitz took a look around the outside of O’Ward, but wisely slotted in behind his teammate.
Telitz thought the start should have been waved off, but did admit that O’Ward definitely had a quicker car and would have got by anyway.
Telitz explained that his lack of pace came down to a set of tires that were not agreeable with the set-up on his No. 82 Team Pelfrey machine and that he expects to have much better pace in the final two races
— Road To Indy TV (@RoadToIndyTV) September 10, 2016
At the end of the first lap it was O’Ward, Telitz, Dapero, Jamin, Parsons, Fisher, Owen, Swanbeck, Eberle, Burton-Harris, Enders, and de la Vara
World Speed Motorsports’ Burton-Harris had a malfunctioning transponder and was forced to the pits to rectify his problem.
Telitz spent the first five laps holding off Dapero, which allowed O’Ward to pull out to a 3.6 second lead.
On Lap 5, Will Owen was forced to the pits and the Juncos Racing quickly went to work on the right rear suspension. It need up being a bent rear toe and Owen was able to return to the track three laps behind the leaders. The 21 year-old was able to complete
— Joey Barnes (@JoeyBarnes85) September 10, 2016
At the one-third point of the 30 minute race O’Ward was able to grow his lead to 4.5 seconds over Telitz. Telitz was 0.9 seconds ahead of Dapero, while Jamin and Fischer made up the remainder of the top five.
O’Ward was able to build a substantial six second lead before by the half-way point of the race. Dapero remained glued to the rear of Telitz’s No. 82 for second. The gap back to Jamin in fourth was over seven seconds with Fisher, in fifth, a further four seconds behind.
Argentinian rookie Nicolas Dapero spent the majority of the race glued to the rear of Telitz’s Rice Lake Weighing Systems No. 82.
With only seven minutes left in the race, and O’Ward holding an 11 second lead, the yellow flag flew for DE Force Racing newcomer Kory Enders, who went off track at the Andretti Hairpin (Turn 2) and got stuck in the gravel requiring the assistance of the Holmatro Safety Team.
Bobby Eberle ended up leading Moises de la Vara to the line to claim the top spot in National Class.
The final results were:
|8||Moises de la Vara||20|
The second of three Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tire races goes off tomorrow morning at 8am.